Brad Plumer, at Wonkblog, looks at the some aspects of the economics of gun control and the idea of mandatory gun insurance. Excerpt:
... The next step was to figure out the “social cost” of owning a gun. First, the two economists determined that a greater prevalence of guns in an area was associated with an increase in the murder rate, but not other types of violent crimes (guns make existing violence much worse). Why does this happen? The two economists found evidence that if there are more legal guns in an area, the more likely it is that those guns will be transferred to “illegal” owners. There seems to be a negative spillover effect.
When the two economists added up the external costs of gun ownership—more injuries and more homicides—and weighed them against various benefits, they concluded that the average household imposed a cost on the rest of society of somewhere between $100 to $1,800 per year. (The range depends on the assumptions used—and note that they are not including the increased risk of suicide that comes with owning a gun.)
Now, normally when economists come across a product that has a negative externality—like cigarettes or coal-fired plants—they recommend taxing or regulating it, so that the user of the product internalizes the costs that he or she is imposing on everyone else. In this case, an economist might suggest slapping a steeper tax on guns or bullets.
But others might object that this isn’t fair. There are responsible gun owners and irresponsible gun owners. Not everyone with a gun imposes the same costs on society. Why should the tax be uniform? And that brings us to John Wasik’s recent essay at Forbes. Instead of a flat tax on guns, he recommends that gun owners be required to purchase liability insurance. Different gun owners would pay different rates, depending on the risks involved ... Brad Plumer, Wonkblog
Even though a lot of us are getting fed up with measuring all "costs" in dollars, the truly enjoyable part of this is that it puts gunsters in the system. It makes them pay (and even more lip-licking, makes insurance companies take some responsibility!) for gun damage. It obliges them to think like citizens -- as we citizens and grown-ups do -- instead of remaining lifelong little kids with their toys. It would jerk them into being responsible for the world around them in a way they don't seem to be now.